Elderly who live alone: An overview based on the 1991 and 2001 censuses

Pilar Zueras, Pau Miret Gamundi

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the development of single-person living arrangements amongst unmarried people aged between 65 and 84 years old who did not live with a partner between 1991 and 2001 in seven European countries (Spain, France, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Romania and Switzerland). To do so, census micro data provided by IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Microdata Series) were used. The role of five variables with regard to the probability of living alone versus living with others was examined. It was investigated whether the observed development was due to changes in the population composition. Logistic regression was used as a standardisation technique with the census data. Results showed that, after controlling for all the variables, the observed regional patterns remain the same, and that the proportion of elderly living alone increased in 2001 in all countries but Romania where, if the population composition had not changed, this proportion would have diminished. The demographic structure (by gender, age and marital status) did not significantly modify the observed proportions either over time or at a regional level. In contrast, the variations of the structure regarding the socio-economic variables (educational level and employment status) were key to explain part of the observed change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-152
JournalRevista Espanola de Investigaciones Sociologicas
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Census
  • Elderly
  • Europe
  • Living arrangements
  • Population Change
  • Population Characteristics

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